This Monday marks a year since former king Juan Carlos I decided to go into exile and hastily leave Spain via Galicia, without any prior notice, amid numerous financial scandals. Twelve months of silence, lies, opacity and protection of all kinds from the PSOE-Podemos government and, of course, the invaluable help of the so-called trifachito of three right-wing parties, the PP, Vox and Ciudadanos. Saving Spain's 1978 regime and protecting Bourbon corruption have been part of the same package, which has involved the violation of rights, hiding information from the public, refusing to create parliamentary commissions of inquiry on almost a dozen occasions and spending several million euros in public money on the comfort and protection of the former head of the Spanish state.
All this has happened amidst the darkness of the Spanish state as the Sánchez executive has avoided giving key information and explaining the reasons that led it to facilitate the escape of Spain's king emeritus a year ago. Perhaps explanations are not necessary, as the evidence of several decades of systemic corruption has been so obvious that either an attempt had to be made to plug the information leak or the monarchy would be set irreversibly on the path to extinction.
Instead of explaining, it has certainly been easier to cope with the much more comfortable stories which have regularly speculated on Juan Carlos's return, recounting his loneliness in Abu Dhabi, the long periods he spent in the exclusive Persian Gulf enclave of Zaya Nurai Island, and the odd friendly journalist from his golden days explaining that to counter his boredom he was taking trips to the Seychelles. An authentic luxury prison cell to stop the damage already done to the monarchy from reaching the proportions it would if one day Juan Carlos were to show up at the Zarzuela royal palace. Because in corruption cases, there are also distinctions, and thus the emeritus is protected and the sinecures in his service are maintained so that they do not speak up, while on the other hand, Catalan president Jordi Pujol is deprived of everything.
We have yet to see if exile, one of the constants for the Bourbons, ends up dominating the story of Juan Carlos I, as he was born in Rome and is now in the United Arab Emirates. We are also waiting to learn whether the Swiss judiciary can make progress in its investigation of whether Saudi Arabia paid him a 65 million euro commission on the Spanish contract for the Mecca high-speed train. Or what will be resolved on other commissions closer to home, such as the sale of Banco Zaragozano, which, according to the newspaper Público, provided the former monarch with benefits of 52 million euros. And so we could go on, without even mentioning the tax regularizations he has carried out with the Spanish treasury or the complaints that ex-lover Corinna has filed.
In one year, the emeritus has gone from being an adornment to being a running sore. And Spain has tried to keep his image as far away as possible from his son, trying to build a fire break that will protect Felipe VI, which it has only half achieved. Today, the monarchy is an institution without a future, far from the citizens and poorly regarded by the vast majority in Catalonia, where it is only Spanish legality that ensures a minimal attention is given to the office of the head of state.